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Best Type of Wood for Scandinavian Flooring

We can all agree that the Scandinavian interior decor trend is one of the most sought after in recent times. Many homeowners and interior designers are embracing the simplistic approach of this style.

But, most people who don’t have sufficient experience with this style tend to fumble the design at a critical juncture —  picking the best wood for Scandinavian flooring.

Choosing the right wood flooring design for your Scandinavian style floor may be the hardest interior design decision you’ll ever make. There are several elegant and fantastic options out there. And they all seem perfect to the inexperienced eyes.

However, only a few people understand and can genuinely present the intricacies of the delicate Scandinavian approach.

It’s appalling when people commit blunders while attempting to create a Scandinavian style in their space. To that end, we have put together this guide to the best wood for Scandinavian flooring. We’ll also look at a few other key considerations to help you absolutely nail the Scandinavian interior style.

Let’s get into it!

Understanding the Scandinavian Design

Before pointing or picking out the best type of wood for Scandinavian flooring, let’s first establish the essence of Scandinavian design. Scandinavian design has its root in a nature-loving philosophy of a group of people hailing from the Nordic regions. We can simply summarize this philosophy as an attempt to bring nature indoors.

Scandinavian flooring design adopts the simplistic yet beautiful arrangement of the natural environment. It attempts to recreate this in a personal living space.

Furthermore, the Scandinavian design prioritizes functionality over decoration. Everything in nature has a purpose; nature never creates useless elements. Therefore, Scandinavian designs discourage accumulating items that serve no practical purposes in the same vein. Instead, it focuses on keeping only items that have specific functions.

The practicability of the style makes it even more attractive for many homeowners. Since it discourages the accumulation of unnecessary items, Scandinavian designs end up seeming minimalistic. In addition, Scandinavian design is all about maximizing the space and all the resources available in the environment. This, most especially, includes natural sunlight.

Traditionally, the regions of Scandinavia, which includes Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland, don’t often get a lot of sunlight. As a result, the inhabitants tried to maximize what little sunlight they could get. This adaptation gave birth to one of the primary ideals of the Scandinavian approach — maximizing natural light.

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Scandinavian Design

Significance of Wood Floors to Scandinavian Design

The flooring is a crucial part of any interior aesthetics. It forms the foundation on which the interior decorator designs and creates the beautiful space you call home. When the foundation is all wrong, it defeats the purpose of other design elements and renders them ineffective. As such, it’s important to get this part right.

You can hardly ever go wrong with wood floors. Wood floors are still the most preferred flooring option in Canada, North America and Europe. This trend has been the case for decades, and there are no signs of it changing soon. Not to mention, wood floors are an integral part of many interior design schemes.

For Scandinavian design, wood flooring is a fundamental part of the aesthetic. The countries that make up the Scandinavian regions are naturally-blessed with a bucket load of wood. The Nordic people make good use of the available resources. That’s why they design most of their utilities, furniture, floors, utensils and even entire buildings with wood.

In a Scandinavian setting, we consider wood floors to be part (the largest piece) of furniture in the room. Naturally, you won’t want a piece of furniture that’ll look out of place in the room. Imagine the disaster if the largest piece of furniture in a room doesn’t fit well with the rest of the environment. So, you must get the wood flooring options right.

Impact of Using Wood for Scandinavian Flooring

Scandinavian wood flooring design adds texture, character and depth to the environment. You want to keep the room feeling warm, cozy and airy at all times of the year. In addition, you want to maintain a bright ambience in the room by maximizing natural light.

And, of course, you need the best wood options for Scandinavian flooring to achieve this. Creating the outdoor feeling of Scandinavian designs is only possible with wood floors.

Muted colour palettes, layers of texture and depth, and a distinctive bright character are some of the elements of Scandinavian style. And you can quickly achieve all three stated aspects with the right wood floor design. Not to mention, creating the outdoor feeling characteristic of Scandinavian designs is only possible with wood floors.

The first step to achieving the Scandinavian interior design of your dreams involves getting the foundation right. And when speaking of foundation, we mean the wood floors.

Pair the right shade and species of wood with the right wall colour and furniture. Then, you’ll be well on your way to creating a desirable Scandinavian-style home.

Best Type of Wood For Scandinavian Flooring

Several wood species are viable options for a Scandinavian design. However, few of these wood species can truly and naturally express the essence of the Scandinavian style.

Needless to say, you can pick any wood species and stain/style to fit the purpose. However, it’s often easier, faster and more cost-effective to go with the natural options for the job. These include;

White Oak Wood

There are very few wood flooring options out there that can measure up to the elegance of white oak floors. Regardless of its application, white oak wood is a design feature that creates a remarkable statement on its own.

White oak is as graceful as it can get for flooring designs. It’s by far the best wood flooring option for Scandinavian design.

As implied before, the essential elements of Scandinavian design include; a warm cozy ambience, a simplistic character and a natural outlook. White oak floors can provide a perfect reflection of all these ideals.

The rich grain and light tones of the wood can effortlessly accept a variety of textures. But, even in its natural state, the white oak can provide an ideal foundation for a Scandinavian design.

The natural pale hue of the white oak works perfectly with the pared-back look Scandinavian designs strive to achieve. It creates a neutral backdrop that perfectly complements the simplistic yet warm ambience of the Nordic style. It also has a remarkable ability to reflect light and make the environment appear larger. As a result, it’s the best foundation for creating bright warm spaces against the cold dark winters.

Not to mention, it’s incredibly durable, has more resistance to wear and won’t ding as easily as pinewood or Douglas fir. It’s also relatively easy to clean and maintain. This is an essential consideration as Scandinavian philosophy prioritizes cleanliness and serenity. So you don’t want a wood option which makes you cringe at the thought of cleaning it.

Pine Wood

Pine Wood

Whitewashed pine flooring can also create the bright ambience you seek to achieve. Most pine species naturally spot an orange hue that offers aesthetic appeal. These characteristics mean pinewood floors are ideal substitutes for white oak in a Scandinavian setting.

Bleached pine offers a modern twist on a classic, colourful base. Then again, you can choose to stain it a darker colour or let it retain its original deep orange hue. Featuring such a radical colour combination in a Scandinavian setting creates an interesting contrast in the environment. Plus, it makes it a lot easier to transition from the pale yet warm Scandinavian scene into a more boisterous design.

However, pinewood flooring is noticeably weaker than white oak. As such, it’s more susceptible to dings, dents and scratches. Nonetheless, its calm but often understated look makes it one of the best wood flooring options for Scandinavian design.

Douglas Fir

Douglas fir is an excellent wood flooring option that has spent a great deal of time under the radar. Unfortunately, it’s often undervalued due to its embarrassingly low score on the Janka scale. Nonetheless, it compensates for this demerit with several redeeming qualities. And it’s one of the best wood flooring options for Scandinavian designs.

Although the Douglas fir has a low Janka score, that doesn’t mean it lacks durability. The Janka scale tests the hardness and density of hardwood. While the hardness of wood plays a significant role in its durability, that’s not all there’s to it. Several twentieth-century houses in the Pacific Northwest have had the same Douglas fir wood floors for nearly 100 years. Impressively, most of these floors are still in excellent condition.

That said, the Douglas fir compensates for what it lacks in hardness with undeniable charm and excellent elasticity. Its natural pale tone and prominent grain pattern are perfect complements for Scandinavian settings. The neutral colour seamlessly blends into the airy ambience, while the prominent grain pattern makes a subtle statement. Plus, it has extraordinary dimensions and amazingly long planks.

Important Considerations When Picking the Best Wood For Scandinavian Flooring

It’s impossible to pick the right wood floor for any interior design scheme without considering factors peculiar to that style. Naturally, this also applies to the Scandinavian style.

Here are the essential considerations for picking the best wood flooring for Scandinavian design.

Colour considerations

The typical colour schemes for Scandinavian designs feature light and pale tones. This is a simple cause-effect result of the Nordic philosophy which seeks to maximize light during the dark winter months. Bright and pale hues do an excellent job of refracting light to create an airy ambience.

As a result, a general rule of thumb in Scandinavian styles is to go for wood floors with pale hues. You can also mix and match with furniture and cabinetry to find suitable wood species.

We’ll recommend whitewashed floors as they’re the most obvious choice for any Scandinavian setting. But, you should also pay close attention to the wood species. No matter how whitewashed the species may be, it’ll still retain some of its original ambiences. You want to ensure the ambience will not conflict with the overall design.

Flooring Accessories

Earlier, we stated that the floor is the largest piece of furniture in the room. However, it’ll be rather too bland if it lacks essential accessories. Even the minimalist Scandinavian approach recognizes the necessity of floor accessories in a space.

Accessories typically help to add texture, character and warmth to a space. But accessories in Scandinavian settings do a little more than that. They bring interesting dimensions to the indoor space.

For example, greenery in the form of plants contributes to the nature-loving philosophy of the design. Soft textiles such as blankets and cushions add warmth, making the environment cozier. Then, there are the pieces of furniture and other utilities.

When picking the best wood for Scandinavian flooring, you need to factor in the accessories. It’s essential to ensure these accessories and the wood floors you’re bringing in complement each other. You don’t want a conflict of the ambience when creating your style. You can create contrast but don’t create conflict.

The Atmosphere of Your Home

The concept of ‘the atmosphere of your home’ may seem a little abstract but stay with us. The atmosphere includes intangibles such as natural lighting, ventilation, humidity, average temperature and the general feel of the environment. The atmosphere is a critical consideration because fundamentally, the Scandinavian design aims to maximize the intangibles in the background.

If you don’t have a good grasp of the atmosphere of your home, you can’t pick the best floor for it. Unfortunately, there’s little an ordinary interior design effort can do to change the atmosphere of the environment. You may be able to achieve that with some major renovation and additions, but that will cost a lot of money. So instead, you should try to understand the atmosphere and create a design that maximizes it.

Familiarize yourself with the intricacies of the environment before you install Scandinavian flooring in it. This gives you ample time to pick the wood and design that matches the feel of your home.


The Nordic design philosophy places emphasis on sustainability in and out. “You only keep what you need and can sustain.” But, looking at it from another perspective, it can also mean “you should get what can sustain you for long.” In that vein, you should consider long-term options when picking wood floors for your Scandinavian design.

Ideally, you want to pick something that’s durable while also fitting well with the elements of Scandinavian design. But, durability is only part of the considerations.

You also want wood floors that are easy to maintain, don’t scratch easily, and retain their elegance for long. In this sense, sustainability is an important consideration when designing your interiors.

Wider Planks and Matte Finish

Most people recommend wider planks in Scandinavian design as they consider them to be more in line with the style. This principle makes sense, and we also recommend it. However, we’ll also recommend that you don’t confine yourself to the limits of one design.

Feel free to experiment with other wood floor patterns. For instance, you can try out the Herringbone and chevron patterns. They both work brilliantly in a Scandinavian setting.

While Scandinavian designs tend to go all-natural, it allows you to get any type of finish you want. Just make sure it doesn’t conflict with the design ideas and philosophies. That said, a go-to finish most people opt for is the matte finish.

The matte finish shares similarities with many natural textures; that’s why many people prefer to go with it. Plus, it works well with the pale hues of Scandinavian designs, so it’s the ideal finish choice. That said, you can still go for glossy and semi-glossy finishes if you desire. It’s all a matter of your preferences.

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In the End

If you’re looking to jump on the Scandinavian bandwagon, getting the flooring right is crucial; that’s how to achieve the style. Identify and pick the best wood for the Scandinavian flooring by following the tips above.

If you’re having difficulties determining what wood to use for Scandinavian flooring, Three Trees Flooring can help with that. First, feel free to check out our online store for authentic hardwood flooring options.

If you still can’t find something you want, let us know. We’ll surely love to help you get the perfect flooring design for your home.

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